January is the ideal time to head further afield in search of cultural gems. If it’s winter sun you’re after, the choice on offer is wide and varied. It’s a great time to visit certain parts of Asia, including India (where you can see the International Kite Festival), Sri Lanka and the Maldives; and parts of the Caribbean, too. Or, if you’re interested in taking a safari, this is an optimum time to head to South Africa for big game viewing.
Below are our favourite destinations for a January getaway.
Warm days but not too hot
It's hard to overstate magic of Rajasthan: this Indian state is a diverse blend of serene countryside, hilltop forts and buzzing cities. The weather at this time of year is cool, so its the perfect time to delve into the many sites this vibrant region has to offer. This region is the perfect introduction to India and home to iconic sites such as the Taj Mahal and the pink-hued city of Jaipur. Adventure awaits...
The scenery is especially beautiful & the weather is cool
Oman is perfect for some winter sun in a laid-back atmosphere with some of the best food and service in the Middle East. There is so much to do in Oman from relaxing by a sparkling pool to paragliding over rugged mountains or snorkelling just off a golden beach. Temperatures fall to 25 degrees in January so you can enjoy all Oman has to offer without having to retreat to your room when the temperature gets too hot.
Warm & dry weather
It's been a firm favourite with travellers for decades and with white sand beaches, spectacular national parks and an array of cultural delights, it's hard to see why. From north to south, east to west, there's always a new corner of Thailand to uncover. No destination is off-limits in January but this is a particularly good time to visit Phuket as the azure waters are especially calm and welcoming, and the diving is out of this world.
Excellent weather & great game viewing in Kruger
Cape Town & Kruger, South Africa
Cape Town is an excellent place to start the new year, this cosmopolitan city puts on an impressive fireworks display and it's also an excellent excuse to try out some of South Africa's sparkling wine. Once you've explored this vibrant city you can make your way up South Africa's stunning coastline and along the Golden Coast. You could even go on a quick safari, January isn't the warmest time to visit South Africa, but lions are less likely to be hidden away in shady spots during the day making sightings probable.
January almost guarantees dry weather
With unbelievably clear, azure waters lapping at palm-fringed beaches and luxurious accommodation, the Maldives is the ultimate island paradise. Yet this idyllic collection of islands is more affordable than you might think, making it the ideal antidote to the winter blues. You also have some of the best diving in the world just moments from your island hideaway.
Good chance of seeing the northern lights
Start the new year in an otherworldly place. Iceland is a magical and mysterious island with vast, unspoilt landscapes dotted with geological wonders, from volcanoes to glaciers. It's the ultimate adventure playground and can be visited year-round, but we love it in January when the landscape is blanketed in snow and the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky after dark.
Best time to see whales & whale sharks
Baja California, Mexico
Baja California takes you off-the-beaten-path to explore the traditional culture, history and culinary scene of this desert peninsula, while in search of magnificent blue Whales and vast whale sharks. This is a great place to spy Blue Whales as most of the world’s population meet here between December and April to socialise, mate and give birth.
During Sri Lanka's dry season
Sri lanka may be relatively small but there's lots to do. Serene beaches, ancient Buddhist cities, emerald tea plantations and dense national parks are amongst her many highlights. Temperatures reach a balmy 30°C and there is very little rain so you can expect plenty of beach days when you're not seeking out elephants or soaking up the stunning views at Sigiriya. Wildlife, history, culture, beach...this destination ticks all the boxes.
A romantic winter sun destination
Barbados is a great antidote for the winter blues; there’s plenty to enjoy, from stately homes and top-class restaurants to more than 1,000 rum bars and the wild waves of the east coast. In Barbados you need never stop having fun, whether it’s catching some horse racing at the Garrison Savannah track or dancing to “oldie goldies” at Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry. This island is a place where couples can have a ball and families will find it easy to slot in.
Great for winter sun
Abu Dhabi & Dubai, UAE
Jet off to a luxury hotel in the United Arab Emirates and bask in the sun with the glamour of Abu Dhabi or Dubai close by. Chase away the winter chills by visiting world-famous attractions such as Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World or Dubai's vast malls. Take a break from the city and head out into the desert for a romantic night under the stars, a camel safari or dune surfing.